Artist Carrie Hott wants us to pay attention to the tools that help us pay attention. Which is to say, she wants us to observe the act of observing. She also wants us to see whats being observed, which in the case of her latest installation is whales. Understanding a Whale Fall/Whale Watch is a multi-part exhibition at Adobe Bookshop. The first part, located in Adobes Backroom Gallery, centers on a whale fall, which is when a whale dies in deep water and its carcass sinks to the ocean floor. This part of the installation includes the desk of a person who has been studying a whale fall, which can result in food for certain ocean dwellers for as long as 100 years. It contains not only Hotts artwork of whales but also a newspaper article, various documents, a lamp, a coffee mug, and the observers personal notes. Hott says she intended the desk to represent the actions of a layperson rather than a marine biologist or other professional. Adobes front windows contain the Whale Watch portion of the exhibit. This includes more of Hotts artwork as well as the tools used to watch whales, such as binoculars and a telescope. The installation has a participatory component in log books that are located throughout the bookstore, Hott says. People can add their own personal knowledge or experience with the large sea mammals. Hott says its a way to complement her knowledge of whales and archive parts of San Franciscos past that have otherwise eluded historians. The opening reception starts at 7 p.m. on Sept. 30; the exhibit continues through Nov. 6.
Sept. 30-Nov. 6, 7 p.m., 2010